I’m discovering the Forza series now that it’s on PC, and I’m liking it!
First I tried the demo of Forza 7 a month ago and liked it. A good balance between simulation and arcade (at least, in my settings), eye-popping graphics, enjoyable tracks. Later I discovered the Forza 6 Apex on pc, which is nice, a free version with 7 tracks and a pair of dozens vehicles. Graphics still hold up perfectly as it isn’t as old, and it’s a looker at 4k/60 fps. I loved the Rio de Janeiro track. I always loved racing games in colorful, full of life scenarios, I think since I was a kid playing NFS2. Racing close to the blue sea, or between red deserts, hot-air balloons around, etc.
Finally I’ve been playing Forza Horizon 3 this weekend and I’m loving it. It’s controls awesomely, arcade but still with more nuance than say, Need for Speed. It looks great, and here I have to add I’m a graphics whore for racing games, it’s an important factor for me (even if I can play Dominions or a shooter from the 90s, for racing games is different). The game is beautiful, in both technically and artistically. It’s a joy to look at the sunset while racing through the cliffs or rushing through a flower field, or through the sleek skyline of the city.
Speaking of, I also appreciate the variety of the environments and the slightly exotic setting, something I dislike from some open world racing games is how they can be big, but only have 1 or 2 ‘settings’ for the environment, unlike track based racing games where every track is usually a bit more unique.
I have seen the coast part, the rainforest part, the fields and farms part, the arid part, the city part, the normal forest part, and I know there is an expansion with a nice looking snowy mountain.
Although, it ins’t very optimized on PC. It runs mainly on a single thread (!), so the cpu speed of a single core is a determinant factor for the framerate.
A i7 4770k @3.7ghz was moving the game at 35-45 fps. Not acceptable. I started changing the resolution and detail, and I noticed how not only lowering stuff barely helped, also increasing the resolution was giving me still the same results. That’s a indication of cpu-bounded game.
I changed the OC to 4.2 ghz and baam!, smooth 60 fps gameplay, at 1600p, MSAAx4, High details.
I think the execution of ‘modern racing festival’ theme is less cringe inducing than in other racing games with the same theme, and here at least they play around with the concept in the gameplay too with interesting results (ie. first race is against a chopper). Sometimes the comments of the… uh… radio operators who call you? are funny.
I’m also enjoying the division between on-road activities (speed traps, jumps, collecting boards, abandoned cars) and the real races (official ones, street races, etc), and the asphalt vs country affairs. Again good variety in the game. Car variety is also good, it’s fun from time to time to use a slow classic car and race against cars of similar types.
The default difficulty is appropiate for a casual racing player like me, I usually end up between first and fourth place in races on the first attempt, I suppose later will be a bit harder.
In summary, I think it’s the open world racing game I played I’m enjoying the most. Also, because I haven’t player FH1 or FH2, I’m not burned out of this particular style :).